Trump and DeSantis on a Collision Course in Iowa Ahead of 2024 Presidential Election

Former President Donald Trump was forced to cancel his outdoor rally in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday due to multiple tornado warnings, in a move he said was for the “safety of patriots.”[0] The rally was planned for the same day as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' trip to Iowa, where he headlined events to raise money for fellow Republicans.[0] DeSantis is widely expected to announce his 2024 presidential campaign soon, and has been picking up endorsements from well-known, deeply conservative Iowa Republicans, including Senate President Amy Sinclair and House Majority Leader Matt Windschitl. 

Although Trump is the clear frontrunner in the 2024 presidential election and has widened his leads in the polls, DeSantis remains the biggest in-party threat to Trump's attempt to return to the White House.[1] The former president has been ramping up his attacks on DeSantis ahead of his expected presidential announcement in the summer.[0] Trump has criticized DeSantis' voting record as a congressman on issues such as entitlement overhaul and called him disloyal for considering a presidential bid after receiving Trump's endorsement in his 2018 run for governor.[2] It appears that Trump has made a threat towards DeSantis if he decides to declare his candidacy for the 2024 election.[2]

The competing ambitions of the two Republican politicians have put them on a potential collision course in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, Iowa, which could have a more important role than ever in helping determine the course of the Republican presidential primary. Trump has his own high-profile backers in Iowa, including his former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker and former Rep. Rod Blum, as well as nearly a dozen other state Republican lawmakers.[3]

DeSantis has been picking up endorsements from Iowa lawmakers, and a pro-DeSantis super PAC, Never Back Down, has hired Iowa staff and begun trying to organize support for the governor before a 2024 announcement.[0] DeSantis told Iowa Republicans on Saturday that “the time for excuses is over” and said his party can't look backward if it wants to defeat President Joe Biden in 2024.[4] He also emphasized the need for a positive vision for the future, not a leader that's “looking in the rearview mirror and potentially going to be vindictive towards other people.”[3] 

According to a Real Clear Politics rolling average of national primary polls, Trump leads 53.5% to DeSantis' 22.2%.[5] No candidate, either declared or potential, reaches double digits.[5]

0. “Donald Trump is forced to cancel outdoor Iowa rally after multiple tornado warnings issued” Daily Mail, 13 May. 2023,

1. “DeSantis holds events with Iowa conservatives, Trump cancels rally due to weather” ABC News, 13 May. 2023,

2. “DeSantis tests his retail politics in Iowa as bad weather keeps Trump out of Hawkeye State” CNN, 13 May. 2023,

3. “DeSantis campaign: Likely presidential candidate gets Iowa backing” Tallahassee Democrat, 12 May. 2023,

4. “DeSantis secures endorsements on visit to Iowa in preparation for likely 2024 bid” The Guardian US, 13 May. 2023,

5. “Ron DeSantis came to Iowa; Donald Trump didn't, but his presence felt.” Des Moines Register, 14 May. 2023,